Credit card cons and identity theft is a billion dollar a year industry. As security and consumer awareness improves, so too do the techniques and sophistication of scams. It is relatively easy to fall for a scam or to have your personal information stolen if you’re not careful. But if you think critically, remain sceptical about anything that sounds too good to be true and refuse to let emotions cloud judgement, it is relatively easy to protect yourself from them.
Beware buyer’s remorse… and everything online
Checking to see if the purchase button works should be the last thing on your checklist. Online shopping is remarkably convenient, and treacherously dangerous. Consider a few things before you commit to buy. Is the site or merchant reputable? Does the site have a security certification logo from an independent body or security provider like McAfee? Does the site offer avenues for complaint? Does the site offer a physical address instead of a P.O. address? These are just some of the things to consider before you make a credit card transaction online.
The Bankers’ Con
According to this article, the biggest credit card ‘con’ is not conducted by someone claiming to be a Nigerian Prince, but instead by the very banks and companies who issue you credit cards. You could be paying off your credit card debt for over 40 years because the monthly minimum barely covers the interest charged. If you’ve fallen for this con, as millions around the world have, and have accumulated massive debt, you should take steps to fix it. With a free credit report from Credit Repair, you can find the best way is to pay off your debt.
Trust in reason, not intuition
The moment you get an unsolicited email claiming you’ve won the lottery or from someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince, delete it. It might seem funny to some that these laughably obvious scams work, but when you consider that these scams attract $9.3 billion in profit, it’s suddenly not so funny. When people’s greed, fear or even empathy dictate their actions, they can fall for these types of scams. Think critically. Why would a Nigerian Prince be contacting you? How did you win the lottery without having bought a ticket? Anything that seems too good to be true, usually is.
For those of you distrustful of the internet but who still want to enjoy the convenience of e-commerce, use PayPal. It is a service that acts as an intermediary between the consumer and the merchant. You provide your credit card details to PayPal, who will then conduct the transaction with the vendor without providing any of your personal information. This method of payment is increasingly popular. Even if you don’t use PayPal, look for sites that offer this payment method as they are more reliable than those who don’t.
Adrian Rodriguez is a freelance writer and enthusiastic online shopper.